FORT ANN — Town Board members and residents alike seem to agree it’s important to preserve the Blossom Farm Cemetery, final resting place of at least two Revolutionary War soldiers. But after nine months, there’s still no agreement on how to save it.

Located on private land off Route 22 in Comstock, the cemetery was nearly lost to memory, it’s stones scattered and its boundaries unknown, before an effort was begun to reclaim the burial ground, which has been used as a cow pasture.

“I want to know where it is,” Deputy Mayor Gretchen Stark said during a recent Town Board meeting.

“I think everyone wants to help out,” Town Supervisor Darlene Dumas said.

“I think we should take it over after we define it,” board member Howard Denison said. “I think we should go forward with the idea of the town taking over the cemetery.”

For the past nine months, Debbie Camarota, a descendant of soldiers buried in Blossom Farm Cemetery, has attended every board meeting to push for the town to take control of the graveyard.

Camarota, who along with four others founded Friends of Blossom Farm Cemetery, has worked with Nancy Moore, who also has relatives buried in the cemetery, to research the land and petition the town for action.

The parcel is owned by farmer Ray Wilson, with whom the friends group has come to an agreement by which he will let the town take part of the cemetery.

“Everyone is waiting for the town to take it over,” Camarota said. “We want to do it, but we want to do it in partnership with the town. For nine months, we have jumped through every hoop the town has thrown at us.”

Camarota has requested a special meeting with the Town Board prior to its regular April 14 meeting to petition again for action. If the town takes ownership, a Skidmore College archaeology class will be able to study the cemetery this summer.

Town Supervisor Darlene Dumas said no special meeting has been scheduled.

There have been a variety of topics that have come up regarding the cemetery, which once held more than 100 gravestones but has been badly damaged in recent years.

The Town Board’s main concern now appears to be setting a precedent by which the town would be asked to take over other abandoned cemeteries.

“How many other private cemeteries are going to come out of the woodwork?” board member Floyd Varney wanted to know. “I am reluctant to say yes, because who knows if Uncle Joe is going to come and say he has a couple of soldiers in his yard.”

Town Attorney Jeffrey Myer pointed out there has been conflicting information on whether the cemetery was public or private, which could affect the town’s options.

At the Town Board’s March meeting, there was some disagreement over how much of the cemetery the town should take over.

Camarota’s group is willing to take just part of what appears to be the cemetery’s original outline, but Christine Milligan, president of the local American Legion post, said her research indicates there is more to the cemetery, and the town should take all of it because of its historical value.

Milligan, using research from satellite photos and maps, believes the site is 432 feet by 132 feet, rather than the 80-by-240 the Friends group is focusing on. Milligan’s estimate means the cemetery could take up roughly 1.3 acres.

“The Legion is asking the town to take it over. We will work with you on all cemeteries. We are willing to work with the board,” said Milligan, whose group has also obtained a grant to explore the Revolutionary War site at Battle Hill.

Denison went so far as to make a motion at the March meeting, calling for the town to take all the land that identified as having been a cemetery, but no other board member supported the motion, so it was not advanced for a vote.

“I think we should designate it as a piece of property of historical value,” Denison said. That could open the way for the town to take the land by eminent domain.

“I believe we should go forward and take over the cemetery,” he added.

(3) comments

homme de cimetiere
homme de cimetiere

The Town Attorney should read the law because it is clear the town is responsible. Here is what the laws states: The title to every lot or piece of land which shall have been used by the inhabitants of any town in this state as a cemetery or burial ground for the space of fourteen years shall be deemed to be vested in such town, and shall be subject in the same manner as other corporate property of towns, to the government and direction of the town board. In any town the town board may adopt regulations for the proper care of any such cemetery and burial ground and regulating the burial of the dead therein. It shall be the duty of the town board to remove the grass and weeds from any such cemetery or burial ground in any such town at least three times in each year, and to erect and maintain suitable fences around such cemetery or burial ground. The town board of any town must also provide for the removal of grass and weeds at least twice in each year from any cemetery or burial ground,

sasquatch
sasquatch

Historical,schmorical. The Town should not get involved. There are dead soldiers buried all over, from wars past. And as for cemetery maintenance, the Town should do it ONLY as often as required by law. Private cemeteries should not be the Town´s business or responsibility, regardless of what some law or some historian thinks.

friendsofblossomfarmcemetery
friendsofblossomfarmcemetery

sasquatch - Maybe you can come to the next town board meeting and learn about it and how we are raising our own funds? How we are Not asking them to dig in the cow poop to search for stones- we just want the town to OWN it and allow our group to restore it as the voluntary group designated by the town -which is law.

Welcome to the discussion.

Comments must be contained to the topic of the articles only. Comments that stray from the direct subject of the article will be deleted. Readers are free to comment on and debate other readers' comments, but comments must specifically address the issue(s) raised. Comments containing personal insults directed toward another reader in any form will be deleted. Comments must be civil in tone, and there will be no name calling of any kind. Uncivil or inappropriate comments will be deleted, as will any comment containing profanities. Comments critical of crime or accident victims will be deleted. Comments that are potentially libelous, including those that contain accusations not supported by facts, will be deleted. Commenters who abuse these policies will have their e-mail registrations revoked.